Posted on 2008/08/09 10:51:08 (August 2008).
[Wednesday 6th August]
Shingo-san was a fellow student of Chie's at her university (the Japanese college which used to be in Reading, and sadly is no more) who also stayed on after graduating to work in the college. Alas the college finally closed its doors in the spring of this year, and Shingo-san decided, after spending all of his adult life living in the UK, that it was time for him to go back to Japan. It was quite sad for Chie as he was the last Japanese friend of hers from her university days to still be in England.
Anywho, to our pleasant surprise, Shingo-san had decided to come back to England for a short holiday, and so this evening we had arranged to meet up with him.
Chie asked me where we should take him for the evening and without even really thinking about it I proposed my standard Holborn / Faringdon night out.
So we started off with a quick dinner at Carluccio's on Smithfields which was pleasant as ever, and then from there headed over to the whisky society for a quick dram. Shingo-san is apparently not a huge fan of whisky, so we didn't linger too long, but I thought it would be nice to at least show him the place.
The next venue on this very well trodden route was Ye Old Mitre. Ely Court was bustling with people (I'd been on a Monday night just a few weeks prior and it had been deserted), but we did manage to find seats inside the pub itself - in the back bar for a change. I decided if anything I might even prefer the back bar now - it is somehow more homely, and feels even more detached from the modern world.
Chie and Shingo-san naturally had some catching up to do, so at a number of points during the evening I just tuned out of the conversation and left them to it. Whilst in the Mitre this was particularly easy, as it's the sort of place I can just get lost in. After a few minutes of me sitting in silence, soaking up the atmosphere, Shingo-san said something to me in Japanese which neither he nor Chie could entirely translate, but it was along the lines of "you look utterly content"... and it was true - I am seldom happier than these blissful moments spent in this magical pub.
We rounded off the evening with my other much visited old favourite The Cittie of Yorke. This too had an almost dream-like ambience to it this evening and I was in no hurry to leave.
If ever in the future I start doubting whether it is really worth me living in London, I should just immediately go to those two pubs (and the whisky society!).
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